Story for the Sky, HD video, 10 minutes
Story for the Sky
On the spring equinox of 2008 I read a story to the site on a cloudy afternoon. I read the central chapter of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. What gift can one give the sky that from its vantage point sees everything? Perhaps a story of the things that it can never see. In the passages I read to the sky, the main characters Lidenbrock and Axel come at last after their long travails to the absolute center of the earth. This moment of discovery of something entirely unknown and magical was my gift to the site: a story of the center of the earth, something which the sky cannot see.
In early April 2008 Don McCasland, John Nevins and I attached sound equipment to the kite line and launched at sunset the Hargrave triple cell box kite failed experiment from the 1890s remade in 2008. With filmmaker Noah Stout, I videotaped the kite’s flight though the sky above the observatory, capturing the flight of a flock of geese, the hovering of the kite over stands of pines, and the buffeting of the cells in the varying winds. The sound equipment broadcasted through a small microphone attached to an mp3 player a recording of my reading of the Verne story to the sky. Now, the upper atmosphere could hear a science fiction imagining of the center of the earth. In the final video that documents this flight, the sound is a recording of the sky hearing the story read to it filled with sounds of the wind, of the flapping of the kite nylon, and the singing of the string in the gusts.
video, 12 min
Camera and editing: Noah Stout
Sound design: Victor McSurely
Exhibition: Allston Skirt Gallery, 2008